One of the finest swimmers in India, Virdhawal Khade was the youngest in the Indian history to qualify in 2008 Olympics, Beijing. Although the 26-year-old did not qualify for the semi-finals in the 100m freestyle, he did set an Indian National Record of 50.07 seconds during the heats. He is also a Bronze Medalist of the Asian Games 2010.
Swimming took a backseat when Khade was appointed as the Tahsildar (Revenue Inspector) by the State Government in 2012. Since he was posted in the rural area of Maharashtra and also due to the workload, Khade eased up on his training and lost focus on his swimming circuit which caused him to miss 2012, 2016 Olympics and 2014 Common Wealth Games.
After 4 years, Virdhawal Khade wants to make a fresh start. With the help of the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, Khade procured a transfer to Mumbai to train for the Asian and Common Wealth Games which are a year away. Moving to Mumbai he hopes to train better for the preeminent events, where he feels he has a realistic chance of bagging a medal.
Khade, who was appointed brand ambassador of Swimmathon, an open water swimming championship set to be held on December 3, 2017, in Goa, said “I am in the bracket for a medal in Asian and Commonwealth Games. Realistically you see, I have a chance to bag a medal at these games, but I have to balance my work and training and see how it works out”.
Khade has recently won the 50m Butterfly, 50m Freestyle at the Swimming Nationals in Bhopal and has already begun working towards his target. “The nationals in Bhopal were my first competition after one and half years and so the results were satisfactory,” said Khade.
“The posting in rural affected my career. There was no swimming pool there and I did not enter the swimming pool for six to eight months. So I suffered. Plus there are different challenges while working in rural areas, but here I still have time,” he added.
On Monday, he took charge at the Tahsildar office in Andheri.
Khade will begin his training next week at Khar Gymkhana and is optimistic about bagging medals next year.